I second virginia controls. I've installed 100+ hydros with a VA controls MH-3000 controller. It uses a microprocessor as the brain, a large relay board and a few smaller relay boards for inputs outputs. Everything is directly powered. There is no LON or CAN systems. They are, in my opinion, the most reliable rock solid controller out there for low rise hydros. The only caveat is you gotta know how to do basic cut sheets and wiring. Nothing on it is plug and play. Which lends itself to reliability but also adds probably a day of work to install time over most newer serial link type controls. I think long term reliability is worth it though.
I've also worked on alot of smartrise. In my opinion they are trying to fix something that's not broken. Why try to use a optical reader and QR code tape that's sensitive to alignment and dirt when a selector tape with magnets (especially the interface products brand) has already proven itself to be the best technology for this application? Why change any of it to these new serial link controllers? In my opinion, it has nothing to do with reliability or better equipment or making equipment that lasts a long time.
I think it's based off a general trend in the industry demanding products that are quicker to install (more money for the company) and products that don't require skilled and trained mechanics to install. Again more money for the company. Gone are the days when equipment was made with quality and reliability as the main guiding factors in design. Now it's what can we make that can be installed quickly by someone who doesn't need to know how to do cut sheets, wire, troubleshoot if necessary. Less time and money invested in the mechanics and they're also more replaceable. It seems even the union companies are doing this, although I'm not with the big 4 so I can't be 100% sure. I'm sure I'll catch flack over this opinion but there are exceptions, it's just the direction I see the industry trying to shift in. There are obviously a plethora of highly skilled guys still working everyday. But if the companies could replace us with unlicensed untrained people working for a third of the wages we're making I don't think for a second we'd still have jobs.
Also my comments about the smartise fixing what's not broken is really about hydros. They are so short and simple with not many code requirements it doesn't take a lot to make them run forever and meet code and be reliable. The traction side it is enjoyable to see the leaps and bounds of improvements better technology has made for how well they run and reducing maintenance at the same time.
One last thought, I have some old Salem, Otis, etc cars that are 60+ years old still running very well. Does anyone think these current tin can MRLs will be around in 60+ years running good with the original car and controller?